“We have 800 shoe stores across the UK and also sell direct to customers online. Our logistics operation must run very efficiently with our teams picking up to 750,000 pairs of shoes – across 848 pick cycles each week – to meet order requirements. We achieve this level of performance thanks to M-Netics’ WMS. It tracks and traces goods for complete real-time visibility over our warehouse operation, ensures accurate replenishment, enables high-volume picking, and highly accurate order fulfillment with exceptions running at less than 0.1 percent.” – Nigel Humphries, IT Director, Shoe Zone
Organization: Shoe Zone
Products and applications:
Software: M-Netics WMS built on its Meteor mobile device platform
Hardware: 200 Motorola WT4090 hands-free wearable computers
200 Motorola RS409 wearable ring scanners for hands-free scanning Zebra QL 320 mobile printers
High throughput: Teams manage huge demand – processing up to 750,000 pairs of shoes during 848 weekly picks
Accuracy: Stores receive the goods they need on time; order exceptions are less than 0.1 percent
Real-time data: Real-time data provides visibility of performance and ensures replenishment keeps pace with store demands
Improved sales: The WMS enables the efficient management of returns, so that goods are sent back to the warehouse and shipped on to stores that are likely to sell the stock faster
100 percent availability of stock: Stock is always replenished in the warehouse in line with the requirements of the picking schedule
Reduced administration: The paperless system reduces administration and the scope for data error
Clear instruction and hands-free operation: Pickers receive clear picking instructions using equipment that leaves their hands free to work quickly and efficiently
Integrated system: The WMS supports online order fulfillment for customers as well as supplying stores with stock
Directed replenishment: The WMS automatically directs operators to replenish the pick face from bulk stock according to the forthcoming pick schedule
Directed picking: Devices inform pickers which products to pick and where to find them
Prioritized picking: Picking for 850 weekly deliveries is prioritized by vehicle schedules
Box labeling: When a box is filled, the picker prints a label with the store name, store code, and the order manifest, using the label to seal the box
Order check: Boxes are scanned at dispatch to verify they are being placed on the right vehicle
Stock counting: The WMS permits scanners to be used for stock counting at individual bay levels as well as for the annual stock count
Challenge: Requirement for a high-performance WMS
With Shoe Zone’s business expanding rapidly, the company identified the need to replace paper-based systems for warehouse operations with a high performance WMS. As well as ensuring that stores receive required stock, Shoe Zone also defined the expectation that the new system should manage orders received online from customers.
Solution: Advanced WMS from M-Netics
M-Netics has developed an advanced, comprehensive WMS that consolidates fulfillment of orders for online customers and Shoe Zone’s stores. With the use of wearable computers and scanners from Motorola to collect data, the system enables goods to be tracked from the moment they arrive at goods-in to storage, picking, palletization and shipment providing real-time visibility over stock levels.
Business benefit: Efficiency, accuracy, and productivity
The WMS is the cornerstone of a highly efficient logistics operation that distributes up to 750,000 pairs of shoes weekly, encompassing orders for online sales and Shoe Zone’s stores. The collection of real-time data from across warehouse processes ensures accurate replenishment.
Shoe Zone is a footwear retailer currently trading from 800 locations throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland. It sells around 30 million pairs of footwear per annum – on average 57 pairs for every minute of the year – and employs in excess of 4,500 people.
With the hardware, M-Netics advised Shoe Zone to equip staff with Motorola’s wearable computers and ring scanners, as Stephen Godman, Managing Director, M-Netics, explains: “The devices must address three simple expectations. First, the scanner must be accurate and fast to use. Second, it has to be comfortable to wear and allow users to work efficiently with their hands free. And third, it should provide rugged, reliable operation. In our view, Motorola devices best deliver against these demands.”
Fulfillment of online orders
Typically in warehouse operations online order management and store replenishment are overseen by two different systems. This increases operating costs by replicating deployment and maintenance – overheads that M-Netics’ WMS reduces by managing orders for both online customers and stores.
Online orders are integrated into pick cycles with teams taking the goods to a post-picking area. Here the order manifest is scanned and the Zebra printers provide the shipping label, invoice and return label to be packed with the product. The order is passed to a separate team that sends the goods on to the customer.
Accuracy, productivity, and performance
Commenting on the performance of the technology, Nigel Humphries concludes: “We are very pleased with comprehensive WMS built by M-Netics. They delivered the solution quickly and connected it seamlessly to our business systems. The technology has proved to be extremely reliable; it manages thousands of simultaneous data transactions day in, day out in a paperless environment. We have complete visibility over our warehouse operation, our teams pick quickly and efficiently, replenishment planning is improved, the system supports offline and online sales, and we have peace of mind that orders are accurate. In fact, all key requirements of an effective business critical warehouse picking system are delivered by the technology.”
Tel: 01249 554 150